Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall tales from Texas about characters I know and have known. Who knows, you might be one of them.

A 70 Year Lesson


Today, September 17th, 2019 is my 70th birthday. I knew for a decade or two that it was coming but never expected it to show up so soon. It’s like an irritating distant relative that uninvitedly knocks on your door while you’re watching a good movie and now you have to entertain them, share your cheese and crackers, and miss your show. We are courteous in Texas. That’s what we do; even with birthdays, and relatives.

Birthdays, at least for me are personal, and I am often reluctant to share what I write with my followers and friends on social media. People need their privacy. Social media platforms allow and encourage you to give large pieces of yourself away to strangers. It’s too easy to write things you shouldn’t and hit the post button. It allows us all to make fools of ourselves in HD and living color. Hold my beer and watch this.

I convinced myself a few days ago to purchase a manual typewriter and spend less time on my laptop. Hemingway, Harper Lee, Capote, and Steinbeck all wrote longhand then completed their work on a typewriter. I am regressing but I feel in a good way. I am on a mission to complete numerous short stories and a children’s book before my batteries run down. Time is of the essence.

Ken Burns is the best documentary filmmaker in the business. If there is one better in some remote region of the Amazon or the mountains of Tibet, let them come forth. His latest effort on country music is a masterpiece in American history and the way our nation evolved to what we are today.

I love country music. I bleed three chords and a yodel. The old callouses on my fingers remind me that I am a musician and will be until the end. It’s my legacy and I fiercely protect my inherited history.

I grew up the son of a western swing fiddle player in Fort Worth Texas and watching the documentary film and seeing the faces of the people I knew as a child, renews my pride in what I was a part of.

Musicians playing instruments in our home was part of our everyday life. The guitars, fiddles, and banjos warmed the cold walls in the winter and floated on the summer breeze through our open windows to the delight of our neighborhood. I was a child in a crib, absorbing the notes. How could I not become a musician?

The men I knew that played their instruments and sang their songs are gone from this life and have been for some time. I watched them grow old and struggle to play until they couldn’t and graciously accepted their fate

I grew old with them. I walked and carried some of them to their final rest. I am humbled to have been part of their journey. It never occurred to me until decades later, that their journey was also mine. It was much more than classroom learning; it was life lessons. I am a better man because of my father and his country musician friends. The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “A 70 Year Lesson

  1. jpgp5908aolcom on said:

    Great piece and great deserved tribute to your dad and the Doughboys. Happy BD and welcome to “old fart” status….hey…some of us don’t make it to that.

    Like

  2. Wesley Strawn on said:

    Great story dad, keep em comin! Happy 70th! Hope we get to spend many more together!

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  3. Enjoyed the take Phil. My Gal and I are glued to the box watching ‘Country Music’. I told her about your father and that put a big smile on her face (mine too). Keep pluckin and stay in touch.

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    • Will do. Two good friends of mine, Gene Fowler and William Williams have written a book on the history of Texas music. It will be published by TCU Press and is due for release in the fall of 2020. They interviewed numerous musicians from rock to country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will be all over that Phil. Thanks. Like i said just by following my ear I have been listening to Texas musicians for a long time. Joe Ely to Buddy Holly and everything in-between. I see you have a take on garage bands. I’ll make some time to have a look at that. Off the top of my head, was Jack Teagarden a Texan?

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